With the availability of more affordable “temporary pools” (such as inflatables or soft-sided pools) the number of water hazards in New York City has grown tremendously. However, the vast majority of pool owners aren’t even aware of the safety regulations put in place by state, city, and federal regulators in order to safeguard pool users, neighbors, and unattended children. (Sadly, many of the pool-related drowning accidents in New York City involve children under 15-years old.) Does your pool conform to safety codes? Does your neighbor’s? Is there a real danger lurking in your backyard?
Both pools and spas must comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, ordinances, rules, and regulations. If they fail to, and the pool owner hasn’t done what they can to deter curious children from gaining access to it, the owner may be at risk of a lawsuit. The legal interpretation of unguarded pools is that they are an “attractive nuisance,” and owners can be held liable should any injury occur to children-even those who are trespassing and in the pool area without permission.
In addition, pool owners can be held responsible (and financially liable) for any injury that occurs to pool users such as slip and fall accidents, non-fatal submersion, or even fatal drowning accidents.
Regulations generally require that:
•· Pools or spas must be completely enclosed by fencing.
•· These fences must be at least 48 inches high.
•· All gates on the fencing must self-close and self-latch in order to prevent entry.
•· In some districts, one or more pool alarms or door/gate alarms are required as well to alert a pool owner if a trespasser has gained entry to the pool or spa area.
•· Pool covers and drains must comply with the Pool and Spa Safety Act, the State Uniform Code, and the New York City Building Code.
•· Above ground pools are no exception to these regulations.
The New York Department of State website contains a helpful summary of all the necessary regulations concerning the ownership and operation of pools and spas within city limits.
If you or a loved one has been injured while using a pool which belongs to someone else (such as a diving accident at a local health club or hotel) call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation to learn your rights at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122. Having someone to look out for your rights from the very beginning can be a tremendous help for families struggling with medical bills and other expenses.